Bill Bransford, champion of federal employees, dies


William L. Bransford, a prominent lawyer serving the federal community and regular columnist for Federal Times, died Friday.

Bransford, who was fighting cancer, was 66.

As a partner at the law firm of Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. since 1983 and general counsel of the Senior Executives Association (SEA) and Federal Managers Association, Bransford helped pioneer the field of federal personnel law, along with his mentor, Jerry Shaw, who founded the law firm in 1982.

“At the time there was no such thing as federal personnel law,” said Debra Roth, a fellow partner at the firm who worked with Bransford for 24 years. “It wasn’t practiced as the specialty it is today.”

Roth said Bransford always exhibited a strong passion for public servants and deeply enjoyed working with them. “Bill got an immense personal satisfaction out of helping people who were in troubled times.” He viewed his own work as a public service, she said.

Though most of his career was in the private sector, Bransford had worked two years in the chief counsel’s office at the IRS, where he worked with Shaw. Bransford also served in the Army in Vietnam.

Bransford began writing the Ask the Lawyer column in Federal Times on Feb. 22, 2010. Editor Steve Watkins said the column quickly became popular with readers.

“Bill was very special in the sense that he combined a deep expertise in the field of federal personnel law with a deep personal passion for helping the men and women in public service when they needed it,” Watkins said. “His presence and role in the federal community has been enormous. He will be missed by many.”

Bransford served as general counsel for numerous professional associations, including the Federal Managers Association, FAA Managers Association and the National Council of Social Security Management Associations. He also advised several small federal agencies on federal personnel and employment law.

In addition, Bransford was a longtime member of the board of directors for the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance to federal employees in need.

SEA President Carol Bonosaro said, “Bill’s contribution to SEA’s legislative achievements has been exceptional and his wise counsel invaluable. He was deeply committed to fairness and respect for federal employees in general and career executives in particular. All career executives owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Bransford is survived by his wife, Katheen (Kathy), son Michael, son Kevin and his wife Maria, daughter Mary Kate and her husband Juan, his five grandchildren, and his sister, Kathy.

Viewing services will be held at DeVol Funeral Home in Washington on Oct. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown on Oct. 2 at 10 a.m.

Memorial donations may be made to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund.


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